Tag Archives: A to Z

Y is for… young children

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With just a couple of weeks left now of our A to Z guide to loft conversions, today it’s the turn of the letter ‘y’. Many people decide to convert their loft as a way to gain much needed extra space in their home, without the need to move to another property. For that reason, we’ve decided to make today’s focus young children.

Let’s take a look at how you can use your converted loft for the benefit of your youngsters.

 

What do you need the space for?
The first consideration should be what you are going to use the extra space for. There will be a reason why you have chosen to have a loft conversion, so you should have a pretty good idea of what you will use the space for. Let’s take a look at some of the options available.

 

Bedroom
It is possible for children to share a bedroom while they are young but it is always better to give them their own space if you can. Young children tend to have a lot of toys and other paraphernalia which can mean that they take up quite a bit of space. Therefore, you may consider converting your loft to use as another bedroom. It’s probably better to put the eldest child in the loft bedroom as they will require less attention in the night. However, you may prefer to give your children bedrooms on the same level of the house and for you and your partner to take the loft room instead – the choice is completely yours.

If you do decide to create a kids bedroom in the loft, you should make the most of small spaces – these can be used as easy storage solutions. Perhaps consider investing in low-height storage furniture to ensure that it all fits into the nooks and crannies.

You should also consider how you’re going to heat the room. Young children especially require a warmer room temperature than adults so if you do not wish to install radiators, you could perhaps consider using small heaters that can be turned on and off easily. Similarly, loft bedrooms can get quite warm during the summer months – this is when a fan would come in handy to keep the room to a comfortable temperature.

 

Playroom
Of course, it could be that your kids already have their own bedrooms and you’re still in need of space. In that case, why not use your newly converted loft as a playroom? That way, there will be no more worries about clearing all of their toys away before people come around to visit. What’s more, your kids will have sufficient room to play properly.

Decorate the room using bright colours such as red, yellow and blue. This will automatically make it seem more welcoming and inviting – a playroom needs to be cheerful after all.

While storage may not be such an issue for a playroom, it is always useful to have storage crates at one side of the room. That way, you can easily put the toys away to clean the room. Make use of smaller spaces for storage. You could perhaps consider making a small curtain to pull over the front of the designated storage area – this will help to keep the room looking orderly when not in use.

 

If you’re thinking of converting your loft, get in touch with the experts. Here at Econoloft, we have over 40 years’ experience in the loft conversion industry, so there’s no-one better to complete the job.

If you’re in need of further design inspiration, take a look at our gallery of previous work. While you’re at it, our client testimonials prove just how great we are.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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30.09.2013 No Comments

W is for… windows

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With only a few weeks left before the end of our A to Z loft conversion guide, we’re now getting to the trickier letters of the alphabet.

 

When you’re converting your loft, it is likely that you’ll want to install windows, not only to let in plenty of natural light and to get a great view, but also for ventilation purposes. So today we’re going to take a look at windows and the different options available to you.

 

The regulations
You will not usually need planning permission for the following:

– Repairs and maintenance work on existing windows and window frames
– Installation of new windows that look similar to those of the existing house

If you’re installing new roof lights or sky lights, you will not need to apply for planning permission as long as:

– They will not extend more than 150mm beyond the plane of the roof slope
– If they are installed in the side of the roof slope, they will have to be obscure glazed and either no higher than 1.7m above the floor or non-opening.

Note: those living in a listed building may be required to apply for planning permission before starting on any of these works.

Building standards for replacement glazing
If there is already a window in your loft area and you wish to replace it, there are certain regulations that you will have to comply with. These include ventilation, fire safety and thermal heat loss measures.

Ventilation
Depending on what you are planning to use your newly converted loft for, different levels of ventilation will be required. Those rooms that will naturally produce more steam and condensation (kitchen, bathroom, utility room) will require greater levels of ventilation which can be achieved with a combination of windows and mechanical fans.

Fire safety
You may be required to install fire resistant windows to prevent the risk of fire spreading to adjacent houses in the event of a fire. What’s more, the loft window may also be needed as a means of escape during the event of a fire. For that reason, the size of the escape window is important. Both the width and height should be equal to or greater than 450mm, with an openable area of no less than 0.33m². You’ll probably only need one window like this in your loft room.

Thermal heat loss
The more action you take to minimise heat loss from your house, the more energy efficient it will be overall. This will result in lower energy bills so it is worthwhile to look into preventative heat loss measures, especially where windows are concerned. There are double glazing and triple glazing options available nowadays which can help to reduce heat loss.

Here at Econoloft, we have over 40 years’ experience in the loft conversion industry. That means there’s no-one better-versed than we are when it comes to loft conversion requirements.

Take a look at our gallery of previous work to find plenty of design inspiration, while our client testimonials prove why we are the best in the business.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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23.09.2013 No Comments

T is for… tips and tricks

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We’re fast coming to the end of our A to Z guide to loft conversions. For the letter ‘t’ we have decided to focus on some tips and tricks, to help you through all stages of the conversion process without a hitch. So before you start to panic that a loft conversion project seems like too much hard work, read through this tips and tricks guide.

Ask an architect
It is really important to consult a professional architect before you make a start on any work. They will be able to draw up a floor plan of the existing space and how the newly converted room will look. They’ll also be able to advise you about how to make sure your loft complies with planning permission.

Secure planning permission
Not all loft conversions will require planning permission but you should contact your local authority first just to be on the safe side. In addition to securing planning permission for the build, you’ll have to ensure that the new space complies with building regulations – that means setting up the appropriate fire prevention measures too.

Work out the cost to value ratio
You may think that a loft conversion is expensive. However, it is actually the best home improvement you can make to get the most return for your money. Loft conversions have been proven to add significant value to a property, so if you’re in need of extra space and cannot afford to move house, consider using some of your budget to create more loft space. When you finally come to sell your house, you’ll get more money for it and you’ll likely find that the sum is higher than what you paid for the conversion, making it a win-win situation for you in both the short and long term.

Get the experts in
Of course, it is possible, depending on your roof type, to do some of the conversion work yourself. However, if you want to ensure that your loft conversion meets all regulations and is finished to a superb standard then it really is best to seek out a team of professionals.

At Econoloft, we’ve been in the loft conversion industry for over 40 years, so we’re more than qualified to complete the job for you. What’s more, we tailor all of our designs to suit you, no matter how conservative or how extraordinary your tastes – take a look at our gallery where you’ll find plenty of design inspiration.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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02.09.2013 No Comments

S is for… staircases

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This week, we’re covering the letter ‘s’ in our A to Z guide to loft conversions. Today’s post is an important one, because anyone who is planning to convert their loft will need to ensure that adequate access is installed. So read on for more information about staircases for loft conversions.

Stairs provide access
The staircase to your newly converted loft should not only be aesthetically pleasing, but more importantly, easy to use. It provides access between the loft and the floor below and as such, should be a safe way to reach the converted loft. It is vital that this staircase also complies with building regulations. The easiest way to do this is to have a traditional staircase installed. Unfortunately, a lack of space sometimes makes this impossible.

Building regulations for loft conversion staircases
Regulations are in place for a reason and failure to comply with them may have a great impact on your safety. In the event of a fire for example, it is essential that there is a staircase between the loft conversion and the next floor down. If there is insufficient space for a full staircase, you may wish to consider using a space saving option instead. You should note however, that retractable stairs or ladders are not deemed acceptable.

It is recommended that you have two metres headroom between the top of the staircase and the loft conversion ceiling. Your local authority will be able to provide more detailed information regarding the staircase regulations for a loft conversion. It is always best however to hire in a professional team as the company will not only be able to offer advice, but will also work in compliance with the loft conversion building regulations.

Design ideas for loft conversion staircases
It is not uncommon for a loft conversion staircase to be spiral. This quirky design may look good but can be very unpractical for those wishing to move heavy furniture into the newly converted loft. Another option is a floating step staircase but this can be dangerous if you have young children. A simple solution is to opt for a standard wooden staircase – metal or Perspex steps can help to add a contemporary touch to modern décor.

Having decided what type of staircase you wish to install, you will then have to choose between a ready-made staircase and a bespoke design. If you have space issues or wish to install something really out of the ordinary then a bespoke design company may be your best option. This will ensure that the staircase fits properly as well as complies with health and safety regulations.

Take a look at our gallery – it’s packed with plenty of loft conversion design inspiration.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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27.08.2013 No Comments

R is for… Roof Types

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Converting your loft is one of the easiest ways to create extra living space in your home. It’s also one of the best ways of ensuring that the value of your house rises in proportion to the amount you spend. However, before you can make a start on any building work for your loft conversion, you’ll need to determine which type of roof your house has. For that reason, our A to Z guide will focus on roof types this week.

 

Work out what type of roof you have
Your ability to have a loft conversion depends on various factors, one of which being roof type. It’s therefore of utmost importance that you determine what type of roof your house has, as this will give you a better idea of how the loft conversion will look once the work is completed, and may influence your decision over what to do with the extra space.

Hipped roofing
The great thing about hipped roofs is that they come with in-built rafter supports which are ideal for loft conversions. A hipped roof is characterised by the sloped surface on all sides. You will easily be able to convert your loft if you have a hipped roof. However, the space for conversion will be rather limited with regards to headroom, so be prepared to make the most of every nook and cranny.

This type of conversion would really suit a home office, or storage space. If you’re planning to convert your loft into a master bedroom, you’ll have to bear the varying head height in mind when deciding where to put the bed – you don’t want to constantly be banging your head getting in and out of bed every day.

Truss roofing
This type of roof is common on modern day houses and is best defined by the W-shaped beams (or trusses) that support the roof canopy. The problem with this type of roof is that the trusses will often have to be modified which in turn weakens the entire structure of the roof. For that reason, it is not ideal to have loft conversion work done on this roof type. If you are serious about converting the loft to maximise your house space potential, the best way to do this is to replace the existing roof with a hipped roofing structure.

Gable roofing
If you’re looking for a large room loft conversion, then gable roofing is ideal. This roof type is supported by gables (high walls) in at least two of its sides. In comparison to a hipped roof, a gable roof will offer you plenty more scope for what to do with the room as there will be far more space created.

If your home has gable roofing, you can use the completed room for pretty much anything you like. Although master bedrooms tend to be the most common type of loft conversion, you may wish to use the space for a children’s playroom, a home office, bathroom or even a home cinema.

What next?
Once you’ve determined which roof type your house has, you can decide whether or not to go ahead with the loft conversion. It’s now time to talk to the experts – ask advice about how you can maximise the potential of your converted loft.

Econoloft has over 40 years’ experience within the loft conversion industry. Our gallery provides lots of design inspiration while our client testimonials give you a better idea about our expertise and professionalism.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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19.08.2013 No Comments

Q is for… Questions

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Well time is indeed flying by – we’re now up to letter ‘q’ of our A to Z blog. If you’re planning to convert your loft, there are a few points to consider, so before you begin, ask yourself the following questions. Making sure that you have considered everything before the work begins will ensure that the whole process will run like clockwork, and you’re less likely to encounter any mishaps along the way. So today, Q is for questions.

Costs
Getting a quote on the overall cost of the work is a good place to start, but you should also factor in any other costs that you will incur as a result of converting your loft. For example, building costs, architect’s fees, interior designer costs, and decorating and furniture purchases should all be considered before any work begins. The last thing you need is to get halfway through the job and to find that all of your budgeted money has been spent.

What will you use the space for?
While many homeowners favour a master bedroom loft conversion, you may also like to consider whether it is worth installing an en-suite bathroom too. Enquire about any extra costs associated to make sure you have enough in your budget. You should also consider whether you have the space required for a bathroom too, and how it will impact the size of the bedroom. What’s more, you’ll need to seriously think about how you are going to heat the water – using your central heating system or installing a power shower.

Of course, there are no fixed rules about what you must use the space for – you could just as easily turn your loft into a dining room, a kitchen, a second living room, a guest room, a kids’ playroom, a games room or even a home cinema – there are endless possibilities, and as we tailor all of our designs to your specifications, you really are in charge of the process.

How will you make the most of the space?
In addition to working out what to use the space for, you’ll need to bear in mind where you will put the furniture items once the work is complete. You can make the most of any low ceiling space by using it for storage. If you’re going to convert your loft into a bedroom and you have a sloping roof, remember to allocate enough headroom for when you sit up in bed. You may prefer to purchase a lower height bed to compensate for this.

Consider where to put electrical points
Although it is only a small matter, you may find that it is inconvenient to have plug sockets at the opposite end of the room to your bed. After all, this may mean that you have to get out of bed to turn off your alarm or to turn on your ‘bedside’ lamp. Save yourself time and money by putting serious consideration into the finished project before the work begins.

Soundproofing
You may wish to install an extra layer on insulation in the flooring of your new room to prevent any rooms below from suffering from the noise – especially useful if your loft is going to be a games room or home cinema. Of course you may also wish to soundproof the room to stop noise from the rest of the house disturbing the peace – useful if it is going to be a guest room.

Lighting
As well as interior lights, you should consider installing windows to let in as much natural light as possible. Again, if your loft is to be a bedroom, it may be wiser not to place your bed directly under a window. You can increase the light potential in your new loft by painting it a bright, clean white. This will also make it seem bigger in proportion.

Insulation and ventilation
Good quality insulation is imperative in a loft – make sure you check the building regulations and ask an expert for advice on what insulation method would be best. If you are installing a bathroom, be wary of ventilation. Your bathroom should have a least one open able window or good quality ventilation system to ensure that all of the moisture and steam is removed quickly.

Once you’ve considered all of the above points, it’s time to get in touch with the experts.

Take a look at our gallery of previous work to give you deign inspiration for your new room. Our client testimonials detail why we are the best company to use for the job.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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12.08.2013 No Comments

P is for… Plumbing

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Can you believe we’re well over half-way now with our A to Z series? Today we’re up to the letter ‘p’ and we thought it would give us a great opportunity to help you avoid and plumbing problems in your newly converted loft. You don’t have to be installing a bathroom for these issues to be relevant. So read on for our plumbing advice.

 

What are you using the space for?
Consider carefully what exactly you will be using the space for as this will determine which plumbing issues you should pay attention to. Bedrooms, home offices and children’s playrooms will require heating. Whether you choose to extend your central heating system or find another means of heating your loft is up to you.

That said, the majority of homeowners would love nothing more than an extra bathroom. Think how much faster it would make the morning routine. Plus you’d be able to luxuriate at the end of the day without having to worry about someone else needing the bathroom in the meantime. That doesn’t mean that the entire loft converted space should be used as an extra bathroom however, as you can always fit one in as an en-suite to a new bathroom. Of course, a bathroom does make plumbing more of an issue as you’ll also have to consider the water supply and the relevant pipework.

Making plans for en-suite bathroom plumbing
Your first consideration when planning your en-suite bathroom layout should be the position of the stairs with respect to the bathroom. There are regulations with regards to headroom and space required for stairs, but bathrooms should also be as close as possible to your waste pipe, usually at the back of your property.

A bathroom pipe that feeds into the main waste pipe is only permitted to be as much as two metres in length. The best place to install the bathroom is directly above the existing family bathroom, as the plumbing work will be much easier.

Remember that a bathroom requires ventilation – you can provide this by installing a small dormer window to the side of your home that the en-suite bathroom is installed.

Plumbing
– With an extra bathroom, you may be concerned about the amount of hot water available. With a power shower, you’ll have access to a limitless supply of hot water on demand, as it will heat water from the cold mains supply electronically.
– If you cannot for some reason install a window in your loft bathroom, an electric extractor fan can be used to remove the steam.
– Unfortunately walk-in showers are not possible in lofts as they require a concrete floor. Instead, you’ll have to install a shower tray.

If you are considering converting your loft, you’ll need to choose a firm that you can rely on. With 40 years’ experience in the industry, you can trust Econoloft to create the home of your dreams.

Check out our client testimonials for proof of why we’re the best company to convert your loft. Our gallery of previous work will give you plenty of design inspiration.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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05.08.2013 No Comments

N is for… new generation of converters

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Loft conversions became popular around thirty or so years ago. Since then, many homeowners have embarked on these home renovation projects in a bid to add further space to their property and increase the value of their house. It was customary to build an extra bedroom or a play area for the kids. In keeping with the rest of the house décor, walls were painted cream. There was nothing out of the ordinary about a loft conversion. In recent years however, this has all changed and we’re starting to see a new generation of converters; people who are more ambitious with their loft plans. We’re on to letter ‘n’ of our A to Z guide so we felt it only fitting to let you in on the innovative ideas to transform your loft. Here’s what the new generation of converters are doing.

 

Recording studio
If you’re in a band or fancy yourself as the next big thing, you could think about transforming your loft into a recording studio. Ask the builders to install sound proofing so that you don’t annoy the neighbours and set up a fold out bed in the corner of the room so that your band members don’t have to worry about getting home after a long recording session.

Cinema room
Have you noticed just how expensive it is to go to the cinema these days? What if you could bring that same experience into your own home? Well why not create a home cinema in your loft? You can easily install black out blinds to keep the room nice and dark while you’re watching the film. What’s more, there will be plenty of space for that huge television screen and state of the art surround sound system. And if you soundproof the walls, you’ll be able to turn the volume up as loud as you like. Be sure to add a few home comforts – what about large squashy seating, a drinks machine and your own popcorn maker? You’ll never want to leave your home again.

Romantic getaway
When you’ve got kids, taking care of their needs and going to work every day can take over your life. You may find there’s little time for romantic date nights. Instead, create a tranquil romantic setting in the loft of your home. If you ask your builder about window design, you may even be able to create fold-back windows that allow you to sleep under the stars – you don’t get any more romantic than that! Soft lighting, homely furnishings and a romantic colour palette will ensure that no date night ever goes forgotten again.

The rules
Of course, it is always wise to seek advice from the experts first. There are currently strict regulations in place which must be considered when building a loft conversion. Plans to install steel supports to allow you to have great big windows will need to be passed by planners.

Take a look at your neighbours’ houses. Unless you live in a listed building, you should be able to get away with extending your home at both the front and back of the house without requiring planning permission.

New lofts have to meet modern insulation requirements – these often help to improve the energy efficiency in your home and will save you money on your domestic bills so it’s worth noting.

Use a specialist company that is well-versed in the rules and regulations of loft conversions.

Here at Econoloft, we have 40 years of experience in the loft conversion industry – no job is too big for us. Check out our gallery for further loft design inspiration. Our client testimonials prove why we are the best in the business.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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22.07.2013 No Comments

M is for… mansard roof

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How fast is this A to Z guide going? We’re already up to the letter ‘m’! When you’re considering the prospect of converting your loft, you’ll need to find out what type of roof you have. The type of roof your current home has will determine the building regulations regarding loft conversions. That’s why today we’re focusing on mansard roofs. We’ll be taking a look at the building regulations concerning mansard roof loft conversions as well as giving you some DIY tips.

Mansard conversion
If your home currently has a mansard roof and you wish to convert your loft, your existing roof will need to be replaced. In its place the construction team will effectively build another storey on top of your house, topped off with an almost flat roof.

Advantages of mansard conversions
The benefit of having a mansard conversion is that you’ll be left with a large loft that spans the width and length of the house. This type of conversion is fantastic if you’re in major need of extra space at home, or for example if your grown-up son or daughter decides to move back home after finishing university. The sheer size of this new room will be able to accommodate more than simply a bed and a wardrobe – you may find that you want to build an en-suite shower room and a bedroom/living area in one, allowing your child to have their own private space.

Building regulations
As there will be large changes made to the shape of the roof in a mansard loft conversion, this type of work will almost certainly require planning permission. Without obtaining planning permission, you will not be able to make the changes to your home. If you’re unsure about how to fill out the form, ask the loft designer to help you with the more technical vocabulary. Once you’ve received planning permission then you will be free to start work on your home.

Converting your loft not only provides you with extra internal space. Unlike most extensions, it doesn’t have any effect on your outdoor space, so you’ll still keep all of your garden. What’s more, you’ll increase the value of your home by up to 20 per cent which will more than cover the cost of the work.

For design inspiration, check out our gallery of previous work – you may also like to read our client testimonials which detail why we’re the best for the job.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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15.07.2013 No Comments

L is for… lighting

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We’re now almost halfway through our A to Z loft conversion guide. Each week we bring you advice about everything technical relating to lofts and today it’s the turn of the letter ‘l’. We’re taking a look at the lighting choices you have for your converted loft once it’s complete and why certain types of lights require planning permission.

 

Use different light sources
Depending on your plans for your newly converted loft, you should aim to use a combination of different light sources, especially as natural light fades towards the end of the day. In the evening therefore, you may prefer a softer, warm light, while brighter spot lights and lamps work well if you plan to read, use the computer or work. Make sure you consider which type of lighting will be best suited to the purpose of the room and what you will be using it for.

If your loft ceiling is sloping and you wish to install lighting, you’ll be able to choose from downlights and track lighting. Downlights require there to be a section of flat ceiling to attach to, while track lighting can be suspended from a higher ridge.

Lighting used for ambience can come from floor and table lamps – try installing a dimmer switch on the wall to enable you to turn a brighter light down for a cosy room glow.

Rooflights
Of course, you’ll also want to let in as much natural light as possible, which is where rooflights come in. Usually, you are free to choose from varying sizes of rooflights, including fire escape windows, and these will be inserted between the rafters and in line with the plain of the roof.

Conservation rooflights
Standard rooflights are often not permitted on listed buildings and period conversions in conservation areas. Instead, you’ll need to install conservation rooflights. Based on the design of Victorian style metal rooflights, conservation rooflights are painted black with vertical glazing bars. If you’re looking for a better quality version, opt for conservation rooflights made from powder-coated steel.

Make sure your converted loft has sufficient lighting by following the above tips. If you’re in need of design inspiration for your loft, take a look at our gallery of previous work.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

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09.07.2013 No Comments